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Wed Dec 07 16:23:47 SAST 2016

As Zuma greets cigarette seller, bodyguards manhandle smoker (pictures)

Rea Khoabane | 2016-02-09 14:17:18.0
A vendor lights a cigarette, seemingly unmoved by the hubbub created by President Jacob Zuma's visit to Marabastad near Pretoria. The president wanted to find out what he should say on Thursday in his state of the nation address in Cape Town.
Image by: Sizwe Ndingane

Lighting up a cigarette in front of a non-smoker who also happens to be the President of South Africa is more than taxi rank politics, especially in a country that was one of the first in the world to legislate against the habit.

The Times photographer Sizwe Ndingane captured the ever-cheerful President Jacob Zuma walking in a crowd towards a cigarette seller to shake his hand, during a visit to a taxi rank in Marabastad, west of Pretoria, on Monday.

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However the behaviour of a nicotine-craving hawker nearby is what caught our attention – and that of the president’s zealous security detail.

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His “zero chill” behaviour got the presidential bodyguards losing their minds, telling him he can’t smoke in front of the president.

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One of the bodyguards then pulled the cigarette out of his mouth, while a second literally picked him up and removed him to the back of the crowd.

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